Plattsmouth urged to conserve tap water

Plattsmouth urged to conserve tap water
Bo Staskiewicz, 10, carries a sandbag as volunteers filled sandbags on Main Street in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, on Saturday. Bo was with his father, Kenny Staskiewicz, who is originally from Omaha and took his then-2-year-old son to see the flooding in this area in 2011. He now lives in Plattsmouth, and he and his son volunteered to fill sandbags. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD

Plattsmouth residents are being urged to conserve tap water, the city’s administrator said Sunday.

The city’s water treatment and wastewater treatment plants are shut down due to flooding. The city is getting about two-thirds of its daily water from a connection to Cass County Rural Water, Plattsmouth City Administrator Erv Portis said.

“We need to get out the message that even though we have that connection, and thank goodness for Cass County Rural Water, people need to conserve water,” Portis said. “People need to find a way to figure out how to use about two-thirds of the water they normally use. This is critical.”

One bit of news that might be temporary: The Missouri River has dropped about a foot Sunday morning, Portis said.

“We don’t know if that’s due to the levee break (at Thurman, Iowa) or not,” Portis said. “The (Army) Corps of Engineers gauge shows 39 feet and we had 40.5 feet (Saturday).”

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Hwy 67 is CLOSED due to flooding from the Richardson/Nemaha County line to the Village of Nemaha

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Offutt Air Force Base announced that only mission-essential personnel should report. The base’s clinic, child development center,  commissary and gym will keep normal hours. The StratCom gate is closed. The Bellevue gate is opening full-time. The chapel’s protestant service is canceled. Veterinarian services are not available today.

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Columbus is no longer an island, but it may be a peninsula, said Mayor Jim Bulkley.

A circuitous route is needed to go south from the Platte County city, Bulkley said. Motorists aiming for Omaha today must go north on U.S. Highway 81 and then west on Nebraska 91.

Vehicles can start heading south at Albion on state or county roads. Motorists will eventually reach Interstate 80 just east of Grand Island.

“It’s about a three-hour route for a trip that usually takes an hour,” Bulkley said. “You can also go north to Norfolk, but I’m still not sure how you get down to Omaha by going east.”

Bulkley said stores in Columbus have been receiving groceries, gas and other supplies via roundabout routes into town since Friday.

“We’ve been blessed with how we’ve come through this (flood),” Bulkley said. “I know a lot of people have been hurt but it could’ve been worse.”

When floodwaters do recede, Bulkley said, motorists need to wait for roads to be cleared by the state’s Roads Department before using them. Floodwaters have caused damage to roads and bridges that could make them unsafe, he said.

“The Loup River bridge needs to be assessed by the state,” Bulkley said. “We’re hoping they can make that assessment today.”

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The Elkhorn River has crested at all points in eastern Nebraska, the National Weather Service said Sunday.

The river remains at major flood levels but is expected to be back below its flood stage of 14 feet by Tuesday. The river crested at 24.63 feet Saturday and was down to 22.17 feet near Waterloo at 6:15 a.m. Sunday, according to the weather service.

Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson said deputies reported that the Elkhorn River was receding near Arlington. U.S. Highway 30 reopened on Saturday, and water is in the process of receding from Nebraska Highway 91.

“We want to remind (motorists) not to go around barricades,” Robinson said. “They are still subject to arrest and citations if they do.”

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